Condition Jetlag is one of the most common words associated with
aviation. Most passengers experience it after trips of over 3 hours either
East or West. The main cause of jetlag is the disruption of the body's
circulation rhythms or more commonly known as our 24 hour clock. Another
contributory factor is the oxygen lack in the pressurized cabin.
First Report Wiley Post, the U.S. pilot who went round the world
in eight days was the first to recognize the condition in 1931.
Symptoms Jetlag affects people in different ways and to different
degrees. The common symptoms are extreme fatigue resulting in diminished
mental and physical performance, insomnia, stomach upsets, irregular menstrual
cycles, aches and pains, irritability, sleep disruption and disorientation.
Effects Mental decrements include 15% deterioration in logical
reasoning and decreased performance levels in arm strength (8%), sprint
times (10%), elbow flexor strength (13%) and lift and carry tasks (9%).
Some 50% of passengers reported sleep difficulties and it take three days
to recover to carry out simple calculations and up to five days for complex
Prevention The best methods involve using synchronizers, such as
sleep, daylight and eating patterns to reset the body clock. For example,
eat little on board and on arrival synchronize with local mealtime. Stay
up as long as possible and expose yourself to daylight. Psychological
cues include setting your watch to destination time on departure and ignoring
home time while you are away.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps to synchronize the body, but
it has not been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Latest remedy Jetskins is a body-molded compression garment that
covers the lower half of the body. Research has shown that It improves
performance by reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and increasing
muscle co-ordination. Jetskins also helps reduce dehydration, leg and
foot swelling, and encourages blood flow. "Since I started wearing Skins
for travel and post-game recovery, I feel fresher, stronger and recover
faster," said Steve Waugh, Australian Test Captain.